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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Back To The Future: A Look At 30 More Years Later

Faculty and students make predictions about what the world will be like in another 30 years.

It was exactly 30 years ago, when Marty McFly took off in the DeLorean and into the future, at least in the movie “Back to the Future Part II.” In the film, the main character, Marty McFly, played by a young Michael J. Fox, travels into the future on October 21st and lands in the year 2015 with intentions of saving his children. 

People have waited years to see if the predictions from the movie would actually match today’s society.

“We still don’t have flying cars, which is a little disappointing,” said Ian Glow, a “Back to the Future” fan. 

According to a video made by Junkee, there were some misses in the film like the hoverboard and dehydrated food.

But there were also some correct predictions, like drones and video calls, said a CNN article.

Since the film showed numerous thoughts about what the future would look like, faculty members and students of USC made some predictions of their own about what the world will be like 30 years down the line.

"Back To The Future Part II" movie poster in the Robert Zemeckis Center.
"Back To The Future Part II" movie poster in the Robert Zemeckis Center.

“I see people watching movies and television shows in a completely isolated space,” Mary Murphy a senior lecturer at USC and entertainment journalist. “But I’m not sure that movie theaters are dead because where would you take someone on a date.”

If movie theaters stick around, the means of transporting to them might be a bit more futuristic.

“Perhaps, drones will take you to the movie theaters,” said Murphy.

We can definitely expect movies to become more interactive and involve the audience.

“3-D, Oculus Rift and any device that puts you into the world of the movies will be the movies that we see in 30 years,” said Murphy.

While films tend to constantly evolve, sports are all about tradition. But health concerns may drive some changes to happen in the future.

“I think there will continue to be a great emphasis on analytics in the evaluation of players in safety issues such as the concussion issue in football,” said Jeff Fellenzer a sports, business and media professor. 

There is a chance that we will see less football in the future, as some schools are already starting to eliminate football programs from their athletic departments.

“[We] read about some high schools having to drop the sport,” said Fellenzer. “One just happened in Southern California. They’ve quit the rest of the season because of a concern about injuries.”

Economically, we can expect to see some major changes and it is all because of technology. We might as well get used to seeing less paper money and more electronic transactions, said economic journalism professor Gabriel Kahn.

“There’s a new way to pay, companies like Apple and Google want to reinvent the way that we pay for things because they see a potential to clean up in that sector,” said Kahn.

Technology is not only affecting currency, but it will also affect the job market.

 Gabriel Kahn
Gabriel Kahn
“The way that we shop is going to change dramatically, so I think the work force is actually going to change a lot,” said Kahn. “There are a lot of jobs in this country right now in retail and technology is rapidly making those human beings superfluous to the experience.”

One common factor multiple people agreed about is that technology and knowledge will definitely impact people of the future, and not all for the better.

“I think the youth of the generation will be extremely intelligent, but not understand the sense of work ethic because simple things that we do in everyday life will already be set up for them,” said “Back to the Future” fan Destiny Gammage.

One thing that will be guaranteed is there will be change.

“I think there will definitely be some turbulence over the next few years as the changes go through, but I think you’ll start to see a lot of major systems, government, religion and structures we have in society just begin to be broken down,” said lecturer Stephanie Sweet Eggert.

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